As RBS closes 54 branches, how can banks get it right?
How’s the service at your bank? I’d guess that for most people, the answer is ‘absolutely shit’! Banking is such a huge part of running a business that I’m amazed so many banks are still getting customer service so wrong. In a week that sees RBS announce a further 54 branch closures, high street banking seems to be dying a death.
I had a very different experience this weekend with Metro Bank – a really positive one! There’s a few things they are getting right that can apply to all businesses. Get these basics right and, whatever your business, you’ll be well on the way to getting ahead of the competition:
I walked into Metro Bank at 10.30 on a Saturday morning without an appointment. That in itself could be considered a miracle! Their strategy, which is to attract new customers with convenience and good customer service already puts them well ahead of the old-school banking model.
If your business is based around an old fashioned view of how the world works – that everything stops at 5pm on a Friday for example – then you’re never going to succeed. You can’t be selling if you’re not open, it’s as simple as that. So by simply being available, Metro Bank put themselves far ahead of the competition for my business. How could you make your business more available for your customers?
Within seconds of walking through the door, I’d been acknowledged by a staff member, who asked what I needed, and sat me down straight away with the relevant person ready to open my new bank account.
Good service is about making sure your customers feel seen, like you’re there ready and willing to help. Don’t make it difficult for them – like most banks seem to do! If you put barriers in the way of a sale, don’t be surprised if no-one bothers trying to get over them.
By getting me in and sat down there and then, instead of making me book appointments, come back another time, wait for a ‘specialist’ or waste my time, Metro Bank have gained a new customer. In your own business, if the sales are the important thing – what barriers could you remove to make the customer experience a better one?
The whole process, from walking in the door to walking out with a bank account took just 25 minutes. Which just goes to show that just because all the other banks take weeks, or even months of frustrating processes and bullshit bureaucracy, it doesn’t HAVE to be like that. Just because something has always been slow, doesn’t mean it should be!
As an investor, I work with so many businesses, and have seen over and over the hoops you have to jump through just to get an account. Two months is not unusual. Two months! Ridiculous.
So how is that that Metro Bank are able to do this so much faster? There’s nothing particularly ‘special’ about them, they have to follow the same stringent rules and checks, probably recruit from the same pool of resource as the traditional banks, have the same back end processes.
The difference is the attitude. They’ve been entrepreneurial, finding new ways to get things done faster. And it is paying off. What could you speed up in your business to keep your customers happy? And why aren’t you doing it?!
I walked out of the bank with a personalised debit card, printed there and then, along with an app set up on my phone for online banking. By putting the focus back on the customer and what they actually need, the service that they offer is streets ahead of other banks, where you have to wait weeks to actually get your hands on your money.
By thinking about the WHY your customers are using your product or service, you can improve the whole experience of getting it. No-one opens a bank account for fun after all, it’s just so you can access your money. Why wait for the tools to do that?! Whether it’s new tech, or just a new process, what could you do better for your customers?
Being committed to one simple principle – in this case customer service – means you can do it really, really well. By understanding the core of your business, and what that actually means and delivers for your customers, you are much better placed to tailor your other services to fit in with this too.
Don’t over-complicate things. Better to be known for one brilliant reason than being shit at everything!
So all in – I was impressed with Metro Bank. There’s no excuse for not innovating. If something is frustrating and crap – make it better! That’s the foundation of being an entrepreneur. I’m always up for hearing from people with this same spirit, especially if you’re looking for funding or investment to change how things are done.
Have you got a great entrepreneurial way to revolutionise your marketplace? Get in touch, maybe together we could make it happen!